——Mama Maria Nyerere, the former First Lady of Tanzania (1964 – 1985) and wife of one of the late founders of Tanzania Zambia Railways Authority (TAZARA), Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere, says it is important for TAZARA to be supported because the railway line is critical to both the economies of Tanzania and Zambia.
According to the TAZARA official Facebook page and monitored by the Zambia News and Information Services (ZANIS) in Chinsali today, Mama Nyerere observed that if TAZARA was functioning properly, it would reduce congestion at the Port of Dar es Salaam and reduce the destruction of the roads that are being overworked due to the number of trucks carrying cargo to and from the port.
Mama Nyerere said this when the Vice-President of the Chinese Civil Engineering and Construction Company (CCECC), Zhao Zhongning, paid a courtesy call on her at the residence recently in Msasani, Dar es Salaam.
And Mr Zhong told Mama Nyerere that CCECC had chosen to visit her to recollect the good memories of friendship of the late Mwalimu Nyerere and the Chinese government.
He said the late Mwalimu Nyerere was a good leader who was still loved by the people of China.
Mr Zhong said TAZARA was a great symbol of friendship between Tanzania, Zambia and China, adding that it was the good ideas of Nyerere, (Kenneth) Kaunda and (Chairman) Mao that gave birth to TAZARA.
Mr Zhong said he would love to see TAZARA alive again and that his country was ready to support that rebirth.
The TAZARA Railway, also called the Uhuru Railway or the Tanzam Railway, is a railroad in East Africa linking the port of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania with the town of Kapiri Mposhi in Zambia’s Central Province.
The single-track railway, which is a brainchild of former Presidents Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia and Julius Nyerere of Tanzania, is 1,860 km (1,160 ml) long and was built from 1970 to 1975 as a turnkey project financed and supported by China.
At the time of its completion, two years ahead of schedule, the TAZARA was the single longest railway in sub-Saharan Africa.
At the cost of US $500 million to build, the TAZARA was the largest single foreign-aid project undertaken by China.
The governments of Tanzania, Zambia and China built the railway to eliminate landlocked Zambia’s economic dependence on Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and South Africa, both of which were ruled by white-minority governments.
Zambia has reaffirmed its commitment to improve the railway transportation in order to improve the cost of doing business.
Speaking in Bolivia, Santa Cruz during the first quarter of this year, vice president, Guy Scott, said Zambia would do its best in ensuring that there was efficiency in the delivery of goods and services in the Land Locked Developing Countries (LLDCs) by revamping railway lines and constructing more.
Speaking as Chairman for LLDCs, Dr Scott said LLDCs, although home to about 440 million inhabitants, the countries were in a peculiar situation since they lacked access to the seas, making them remote and isolated from world market.
He said the situation in the 32 LLDCs were further compounded by barriers such as border crossing, cumbersome transit procedures, inefficient logistics systems and poor infrastructure, all leading to higher transport and other related transaction costs in comparison to their coastal neighbours.
Dr Scott cited an example of the sufferings Zambia went through being a land locked country when Zimbabwe, then Southern Rhodesia in 1966 passed sanctions banning the transportation of goods in and out of Zambia.
He said Zambia as chair of the LLDCs would do everything possible to improve the current situation in most of the LLDCs to ensure there was smooth delivery of goods and services in the region.